The Artists Behind The Evocative Monthly All-Latin DJ Nights Saw A Lack Of Representation In DFW Nightlife — Now They’re Changing That.

Welcome to Como Somos, a new recurring Central Track series about Latinx music in North Texas. Como Somos, a phrase that translates to “as we are” in Spanish, focuses on the up-and-coming Latinx acts that are heavily inspired by the sounds and roots of their cultural backgrounds. Here, they share their stories of what it means to be a Latinx musician in DFW today, as well as Spanish tracks that helped shape their artistry, to better connect with their ever-growing community.

From Fort Worth’s famous Monday night Meet Me Underground parties to monthly sets at Deep Ellum bars, DFW is certainly not lacking in DJs. Anyone can catch a DJ set every single day of the week, whether they’re recuring sets or DJ pop-ups, and they’re guaranteed to have you running back for more.

If you like goth and darkwave, darken your clothes and hit The Church at It’ll Do Club. If you like R&B, go see NaturalHiiigh and Dezi 5 at Wits End. If you like house music, you’re in luck because that’s are just about anywhere. Still, something was missing, or at least that’s what three ambitiously creative party-going friends noticed.

While there are clubs around DFW that play Latin music faves, there wasn’t a place that stayed true to the Latin theme. Sure, Bad Bunny and Karol G have club bangers, but that gets old quickly. Some just sprinkle in OG Latin songs every other track, burying them in between an assortment of other modern tunes and hyping up all the Latinos in the room for a split before moving on.

Not anymore.

Noches De Fortuna, the new ultimate Latin throwback party, is putting a stop to that. It’s throwing its own party and filling the Limbo Room at Ruins once a month with both Latin nostalgia and modern hits. Inspired by their childhood memories and love for nightlife, the founders of Fortuna wanted to create a space for the first-generation kids, like themselves, to feel like they belong and celebrate their identity. Their goal is to bring back those classic tracks they remember dancing to at birthday parties and with their families — the one’s that trigger your memory.

At Fortuna, the night to get lucky, you’ll only hear Spanish lyrics and Latin sounds from all over Latin America and their Mexican roots. Yeah, its motto “All Latin, All Night” is no joke. To understand Fortuna’s concept, you must know where is comes from, so who the hell is running this?

First, there’s Jorge Hinojosa, who we first introduced as Sordelo not too long ago, and has DJ’d around DFW for a minute. Then, we have Karina Salas, who still considers herself a “baby DJ” but has a loaded music collection. None of this, of course, could have been possible without Lili Xitlalic, Fortuna’s curator, designer and the one who first came up with the idea.

An icon trio.

We caught up with the Fortuna gang to prep us for its next party on March 19 and here’s what they had to say. (Plus, a good ass playlist of their favorite Latin songs).

How were you each inspired to throw these all-Latin music DJ nights in Dallas?

Jorge Hinojosa: I’ve been playing music in Dallas since I was 16. I’ve played in every freaking bar in Deep Ellum. I felt like I was never connecting with the scene at the time. That was around 2011 or 2010. Growing up and going to college – I wasn’t feeling connected to the city, but something happened during and after COVID where I was like, ‘fuck it, I’m gonna get out there. I’m gonna meet people.” And, holy shit, there’s so many amazing Latinx artist that are emerging right now. I’m someone who wants to be a part of this. We want to be part of the conversation. We have a lot to offer as far as duration and energy and we just want to be there. We want to be in the party.

Xitlalic: We started going out and I would look around and be like, ‘This is amazing. I love what’s happening, but I don’t see myself here. This isn’t reflective of the music that I like or the styles that I like.’ When I would go to Latin places, like Vidorra and Gloria’s and all that stuff, I liked it, but they would play the same thing over and over again. A lot of Latin places just played the some modern reggaeton sound and we wanted more than that. We wanted something where we could listen to all the different varieties of music that we like — just like there are in normal clubs. That’s kind of where the idea sprouted and how our root is what we are – Latinidad.

Karina Salas: Seeing what that expression looks like, even across regional Mexican music, and then getting out and spreading that. South American – the Caribbean sounds – and all the things that are a common thread between the music was not necessarily getting its representation over club speakers. I’m really tired of the Latin handouts. We love Selena but I don’t want to hear “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” every time. That’s the only thing passed out. So, really picking the reigns on what it would look like for a couple of kids who love to go out start their own party.

Xitlalic: We talked about how there’s a section of kids like us, the first-generation kids, that are very much still attached with their traditional Latin side. Then there’s the side that likes the more modern stuff. We were like ‘How can we cater to those people and to people like us.’ That’s kind of where we fall and what we’ve been trying to accomplish – giving people like us a space.

It’s such a fun thing to create with your friends. Karina and Jorge were starting to get serious about DJing and I was like ‘Let’s do something that I want to do, and we all want to do.’ Let’s do our own thing and they just rolled with it. It was my crazy idea and it turned into something amazing and fun.

Was it difficult to find a venue that was down for this kind of concept?

Hinojosa: We lucked out with Ruins. I’m friends with one of the photographers who works there, and he gave me the booking contact and we booked it like no problem.

Salas: Like, suspiciously, no problem. They didn’t even know what we sounded like, so we’re very, very lucky for that break. I think it was the right time, right place. We were post-summertime COVID and I don’t know if there were a lot of acts that were fighting for the space on stage at the time. So, yeah, we’re very, very fortunate that someone decided to say yes to us. Also, being intentional with the location. We are a lover of this space. We go here frequently. We jokingly call it headquarters.

What does a Noche De Fortuna look like and what genres pair with your personalities?

Hinojosa: When Lily and I first started talking about it, she wanted more like a lounge-y situation. More salsa and bachata — that was more the vision.

Xitlalic: Yeah, I love to dance. I’m a big dancer. Me encanta perrear — I love the perreo – but I genuinely sometimes just want to go dance some bachata and salsa. That’s sometimes all I want to do, and I wanted to go somewhere where I could do those things. Like, ‘cool, they’re gonna play it for maybe two songs and it’s done for the whole night.’ I didn’t want that. That’s where the concept came from. After talking with Karina and Jorge about what all they wanted to do as well — because at the end of the day this is a team effort — we came up with the concept we have now. It slowly evolved – it started one way and it’s gone another way, but, honestly, it’s still amazing. I love it, it’s so fun and the dancing is still very much a big thing.

Salas: At the show you’ll hear all three of the things that we love. We love that part of Lili and Jorge brings in a cool, rock 80s pop and power ballads. I’m like a nostalgia of cumbias.

Hinojosa: It was also to see what we were all capable of. I love playing all that pop and 80s shit. I completely changed it up in the middle of the night just to see what happens and usually it gets a great response. We just wanted to see what the hell would happen if we threw all our styles into one show.

How does your audience react when they hear these Latin bangers, once’s that we wouldn’t normally hear at other clubs?

Xitlalic: I think this last one that we just had was the first Fortuna where we weren’t really sure who was coming. At this point, that was our fourth one that we had thrown. We were like ‘Our friends came enough times; we don’t know who going to show up.’ This was our first night with no training wheels, basically. We were just going and seeing who was going to show up. Then seeing all these strangers on the dance floor almost bond with the music. It was such as amazing thing to watch. Seeing people that didn’t know each other dancing together, singling along together and interacting with each other because them recognizing songs that they probably forgot they grew up with was really cool to watch.

Salas: Seeing the excitement come over people’s faces, like triggering a memory, because of an 80s song that pulls then back to growing up. That’s one of my favorite moments. Kind of having nostalgia on our side.

So, we’ve talked about what Fortuna is and it’s spontaneous upbringing, but let’s get personal for a sec. Who the hell are you people and what’s your background in night life and music?

Hinojosa: When you met me, I was doing more like a pop singer, singer-songwriter thing. I’ve always been a songwriter. I’ve always been in bands and stuff like that, but a big part of my background is nightlife. I actually grew up in nightlife. My father used to run bars and nightclubs. That was his thing for over 30 years, so it’s in my blood. When I turned one year old, it was in a night club, like for real. I grew up around DJs, I grew up around promoters. It’s weird that it took me this long to even attempt to DJ and be part of that world more and more. I ended up working alongside my dad for a couple years after college and that’s was when I really dove into night life.I met DJs, learned what a good DJ sounded like and learned what got a crowd moving.

The main DJ for that club was from Mexico City. He would play a lot of the modern stuff and the tropical stuff, but he was Mexican to the core. He played a lot of pop, Latin electronic, techno. He would shake it up and I think that’s what made him a great DJ. His name’s Nor-b. Shout out to Nor-b. He’s a veteran and well-known in the Latin community. He’s definitely a good mentor to us and he actually did the first Fortuna with us. Both my parents are from Mexico, so and even though I grew up in that life, it was very much instilled in me that I needed to have an education, a career and that’s why I feel like I do live a double life. I have to live this life as a professional to sustain myself and my family, but at the same time I can’t get the night life out of my blood.

Xitlalic: I’m also a child of immigrants. My mom is from San Felipe, Guanajuato and my dad is from Guadalajara. If I’m being completely honest with myself – I’m a party girl. I love to party. I love to dance. I just love dancing. I have the spirit of the dancer. We say that amongst ourselves all the time. We – Karina and I – have the spirit of the dancer. Sorry Jorge.

Hinojosa: I’m no dancer, that’s for sure.

Xitlalic: he has the musician spirit. He has the rhythm, he gets it. We are compatible, us three. A big part of my childhood, and something my mom always loved hearing was bachata music. I’ve been dancing, obviously casually, but dancing is such a big part of my family and something we always did when we got together. I didn’t really listen to a lot of English music growing up. Growing up, a lot of the music I listened to was bachata, a lot of cumbia and reggaeton. Like, I didn’t know who the hell Queen was. For me the OGs were Aventura and Vincente Fernandez.

When I turned 18, I got really excited to be able to go out dancing in night clubs. I turned 18 on a Thursday and by that Saturday I went to my first night club. Immediately I was so ready to go out and start dancing. I went and that’s how I met Jorge. We ended up working at the same club together. Then COVID hit.

I like nightlife. I think it suits me. I love being a part of it. I love the culture of it all. I think it’s such a beautiful environment in a way. Like anywhere else, it has its ugly side, but I still think it’s amazing. I really wanted to get back into it, but not in the way that I had before. That’s a big motivator behind Fortuna.

Salas: My mom’s from Chihuahua by way of El Paso. Her siblings moved out here to Dallas when they got older. I grew up in Carrollton, the rest of my family is down in Oak Cliff. I grew up with a little identity chip on my shoulder being a kid from the suburbs and not necessarily feeling like I fit in. I was watching some old VHS tapes of my family the other day and there was always music in the background in every single video. From my mom’s love of 70s rock and the old school music from my grandparents. I always think about all the memories I’ve had. I call quinceañeras basic training boot camp for kids, because that’s where you learn how to dance and not be shy. I think the same feeling that I get of being in a club and everyone knowing the song feels the same way as my kid-self back then.

Music has always been a part of my life. I’ve always been so jealous that I never grew up playing an instrument. I’ve always considered myself a music collector – that was my skill. I’m so lucky to know different influences of styles and sounds my whole life. I think about being a kid and having my youngest tias pick us up and in the car they’re playing club music, which I know now is house music but I didn’t even know it. I like to say that a DJ deck is my instrument, that’s the closest thing that I get to being a performer. Now, being on this side of the stage is definitely a new process for me to learn. I always felt like an observer when it came to music, or being a supporter, a homie, a group or a roadie and all the things that I’ve been a part of in the music scene growing up. I feel so lucky to be on this part of the stage this time.

How do you feel about the Dallas music scene now?

Salas: Seeing how many people are doing things from scratch their own way is so inspiring in Dallas, especially the rising Latin artists that we have here is insane. I feel like Dallas is just bubbling. We’re really on the precipice of popping off and being recognizable outside of the Dallas music city. It just incredible being a part of it, but especially on the DJ side. Incredible parties happening all the time and such talented, talented people really getting to showcase their thing.

Cover photo courtesy of Noches De Fortuna.

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